Strategies of organizational socialization


Material Information

Strategies of organizational socialization an empirical test of Van Maanen's typology of people processing tactics
Physical Description:
ix, 116 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Baker, H. Eugene
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Socialization   ( lcsh )
Organizational behavior   ( lcsh )
Management   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1988.
Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility:
by H. Eugene Baker, III.
General Note:
General Note:

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001113958
notis - AFL0602
oclc - 19872336
System ID:

Full Text







. .: .-Mf

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries with support from Lyrasis and the Sloan Foundation


As I began writing this section, I realized how inadequate this

forum is when attempting to recognize the contributions of the many

individuals who assisted me in this process. The space available is

insufficient to fully acknowledge all of their support. Given the

limitation of space, and the inadequacies of the written word, the reader

is cautioned that the following is only a beginning attempt at that


I begin by acknowledging the contribution of my dissertation

chairman, Daniel C. Feldman. Daniel shared his expertise, his drive, and

his support. I am grateful for his patience and encouragement,

especially during the more trying times. H. Joseph Reitz and Lawrence J.

Severy, the other members of my committee, were also especially

supportive and introduced me to different perspectives. Their direction

and suggestions were valuable, especially during the formative stages. I

thank all three members for their timely and responsive feedback.

I wish to thank my typist, Leanna Payne, for her timely and

professional attention to the preparation of the manuscript. Eric

Reinhardt was an invaluable help in conducting the statistical analysis

and with his knowledge of the computer systems. I also wish to

acknowledge my colleagues at the University of North Florida, and

especially Robert Pickhardt, for allowing me to experience the

"socialization" process at its best. They all have been supportive

throughout my research and during my initiation to the classroom.


The organizations that participated in the research must, by

agreement, remain anonymous. I wish to thank their managements and all

of their employees for their contribution to the research.

Finally, I wish to thank my family. My wife, Shirley, and my sons,

Jeff and Scott, were a constant source of support and understanding.

Their faith in my efforts helped beyond measure during some especially

trying periods. I can never hope to fully acknowledge their role in my

completion of this research project.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. . . ... ....... .ii



ABSTRACT . . ... .... viii


1 INTRODUCTION . . ... .. 1

Socialization Defined . . 1
Types of Socialization. . 4
People Processing Strategies. . 8
Socialization Outcomes. . ... 20


Total Sample. . . .. 29
Research Settings . . 30
Organizational Entry and Data Collection Procedures 32
Instruments and Measures. . 36
Organization and Job Category Statistics. .. 47

3 RESULTS. . . . 55

People Processing Strategy Correlations ...... 55
Attitudinal Outcomes Correlations .... ... 59
Relationships Between Individual Processing
Strategies and Outcomes . .... .62
Cluster Analysis Results. . ... .64
Discriminant Analysis Results . .... .65


Relationships Among the People Processing Strategies. 71
Relationships Between the People Processing
Strategies and Attitudinal Outcomes ... 79
Methodological Issues . . 82
Organizational Implications . .... .87

REFERENCES. . . ... ........ .92


A COVER LETTER . . .. ... ... 100

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . ... ..... 116



People Processing Strategies. . .. 11






















Outcome Variables . . .

Sample Distribution by Age . .

Job Category Distribution . . .

Time in Organization . . .

Time on Job . . .

Comparison of Jones Data to Current Research on
Independent Variable Scales . .

People Processing Strategies Scale Reliabilities .

Items Statistics for People Processing Strategies .

Attitudinal Outcomes Scale Reliabilities . .

Item Statistics for Attitudinal Outcomes . .

People Processing Strategies by Organization .

Attitudinal Outcomes by Organization . .

People Processing Strategies by Job Category .

Attitudinal Outcomes by Job Category . .

Correlations Among People Processing Strategies .

Correlations Among Attitudinal Outcomes . .

Correlations Between People Processing Strategies and
Attitudinal Outcomes . . .

Cluster Analysis--People Processing Strategies Mean
Scores. . . . .

Discriminant Analysis--Attitudinal Outcomes Mean Scores .






















3-1 Cluster Analysis.......... .......... .67

3-2 Discriminant Analysis. ..... . 70

4-1 Organizational Categorization . .... 75

4-2 Job Categorization......... .......... .75

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



H. Eugene Baker, III

December, 1988

Chairman: Daniel C. Feldman
Major Department: Organizational Behavior and Business Policy

The dissertation empirically examines the people processing

socialization strategies employed by organizations and how these tactics

impact individual attitudinal responses. Two major purposes of the

research project were to (1) empirically test the existence of, and

relationships among, the people processing strategies posited by John Van

Maanen, and (2) determine the associations between the strategies

employed and certain relevant individual attitudinal responses.

A questionnaire was used to collect data from over five hundred

employees employed by four diverse organizations. Different organization

types were selected to provide a substantial cross-section of tasks and

functions. The organizations in the survey included a military unit, a

utility, a health care facility and a billing service. Over twenty job

classifications were included, ranging from entry level to management and

from unskilled to highly technical and professional. The data were


analyzed using correlational analysis, cluster analysis, and discriminant


The results of the research suggest a high level of

interrelationship among the people processing strategies. Two clusters

of people processing strategies were identified: unit and batch.

Further, systematic relationships were found between these patterns of

processing strategies and clusters of attitudinal measures.

Recommendations for organizational socialization programs are

suggested in light of the findings of the research. It is specifically

suggested that organizations can play a major role in achieving desired

employee socialization outcomes by consciously selecting patterns of

processing that are compatible with competitive strategies.


The purpose of this dissertation is to empirically examine the

strategies employed by organizations to socialize newcomers into the

organization and to determine how these strategies impact the

individual's behavior and attitudes towards the organization. The first

section formally defines the concept of socialization in the

organizational context. The second section explores the various types of

socialization strategies or processes that may be employed by the

organization in its attempt to transform the new employee. In the third

section the current status of research on the socialization process is

delineated and evaluated and the emphasis of the current dissertation is

explored. The final section discusses the predicted outcomes of the

socialization process and concludes by examining the impact of

socialization strategies on the outcomes.

Socialization Defined

The current research deals specifically with the socialization

process as it applies to the organization and as such requires a

definition specific to this setting. Caplow (1964) defined socialization

as an organizationally directed process that prepares and qualifies

individuals to occupy organizational positions. Brim (1966) viewed

socialization as the manner in which an individual learns that behavior

appropriate to his position in a group through interaction with others

who hold normative beliefs about what his role should be and who reward


or punish him for correct or incorrect actions. Feldman (1976)

identifies organizational socialization as the process by which

individuals are transformed from total outsiders of companies to

participating, effective members of them. The teaching and learning of

organizational expectations has also been referred to as "learning the

ropes" or "breaking in" (Schein, 1968; Van Maanen, 1976a).

The attributes or characteristics of the socialization process have

been succinctly identified by Feldman (1976, 1980, 1988). Feldman

identifies the three most salient characteristics of organizational

socialization as: (1) continuity of socialization over time, (2) changes

of attitudes, values and behaviors and (3) as a multiple socialization


Continuity of socialization over time refers to the ongoing nature

of the process. As Feldman notes, "organizational socialization does not

occur in the first weeks on the job, but is achieved more slowly over a

period of weeks and months" (1988, p. 78). Continuity of the process

recognizes that socialization usually begins before the newcomer actually

enters the organization. The process continues during actual entry and

during the critical period of time (Van Maanen, 1976a; Berlew & Hall,

1966) the individual is adjusting to their new organization. The

process, therefore, is in operation continuously beginning at

"anticipatory socialization" (Feldman, 1976) or "pre-arrival" stage

(Porter, Lawler, & Hackman, 1975), through the "accommodation" (Feldman,

1976) or "encounter" stage (Porter, Lawler, & Hackman, 1975), and

continuing to the stages of "role management" (Feldman, 1976) or "change

and acquisition" (Porter, Lawler, & Hackman, 1975).

A second common theme in these definitions is that the socialization

process involves learning and change (Fisher, 1986). The process

includes learning and change on the part of the new employee as well as

learning and change on the part of the organization. Fisher (1986) has

summarized some of the learning that occurs during the socialization

process and identifies four categories: learning about the organization,

learning to function in the work group, learning to do the job and

personal learning.

Change is also noted as a common element in the definitions of

organizational socialization; change occurring in the individual in the

areas of attitudes, values and behaviors (Van Maanen, 1975) and in the

form of self-image and levels of involvement (Caplow, 1964). Feldman

(1981) distinguishes between three distinct views of change by

identifying socialization as a process of acquisition, development, and


The third characteristic of the socialization process is what

Feldman (1981) refers to as "multiple socialization." This

characteristic recognizes the multi-dimensional character of the process.

Multiple socialization incorporates three views of the changes that occur

during organization socialization; "socialization as the acquisition of a

set of appropriate role behaviors; socialization as the development of

work skills and abilities; and, socialization as adjustment to the work

group's norms and values" (1981, p. 309). Multiple socialization

reflects the simultaneous nature of the process of socialization, and as

Feldman indicates, "as employees are learning their job, they are also

establishing new interpersonal relationships and learning their way

around the organization" (1988, p. 78).

Types of Socialization

Organizational socialization has typically been viewed as a series

of steps or phases (Feldman, 1976; Porter, Lawler, & Hackman, 1975;

Schein, 1978; Van Maanen, 1976a; Wanous, Reichers, & Malik, 1984). A

typical stage model includes three phases, variously described as

"anticipatory," "encounter," and "metamorphosis" (Feldman, 1976, 1980).

These models reflect a passage through the organization that begins prior

to entry into the organization and continues throughout the relationship.

Conventional approaches to organizational socialization processes

have centered on developing typologies which describe activities that

take place during socialization. For example, Wanous (1980) has

identified five types of strategies that may be found in an organization

socialization process. These include training, education,

apprenticeship, debasement, and cooptation/seduction strategies. There

is present in these types of strategies a heavy reliance on the

"training" aspects of socialization. Schein (1964) identified strategies

typically used by organizations in their attempt to train new employees.

These strategies included the sink or swim approach, the upending

experience, job rotation and full-time training. Again, the emphasis is

on the training that takes place as the organization attempts to educate

the new employee.

As previously indicated, Feldman (1981) developed a comprehensive

model which integrates the activities that occur in the organizational

socialization process. Feldman expands upon his earlier work (Feldman,

1976) by considering the multiple nature of the socialization process.

An integral part of Feldman's model is the identification and integration

of three views of the changes that occur during socialization in the


organization context: learning the role, learning the job, and learning

about the group.

Acquisition of Role Behaviors

The first view of socialization as the acquisition of appropriate

role behaviors focuses on the individuals' attempts to clarify the

demands of their new roles. As suggested by Feldman, "during the first

few weeks and months, employees try to define exactly what tasks they

have to do, what the priorities are among these tasks, and how they are

to allocate their work time" (1981, p. 312). In this view, the new

employee is attempting to reduce the tension and anxiety that occurs as

the result of exposure to a new situation (Lewin, 1951; Louis, 1980).

Expectations play an important part in this attempt to define the role

requirements. Feldman signifies this important aspect by noting that

"the more realistic the picture that employees have of their jobs, the

easier it should be for them to discover what is and is not expected at

work," and that "employees who feel that they have incomplete or

incorrect information will have a much more difficult time sorting out

exactly what they are supposed to be doing" (1981, p. 312).

Also involved in this first view is the resolution of conflict. Two

aspects are important in this regard. The first is the individual's

attempt to manage intergroup role conflicts, that is, conflicts "between

the immediate work group and other groups in the organization" (1981, p.

312). Expectations are equally as important in this effort as indicated

by Feldman's comment that "employees with realistic expectations about

the organization are more likely to be aware of potential role conflicts

when they accept the new job" (1981, p. 312).


A second area requiring conflict resolution is that of outside-life

conflicts. This includes conflicts relating to work schedules, demands

on the family and the quality of home life. Additional pressure is

experienced by the employee who has failed to effectively manage this

conflict. Realistic expectations are again important in this conflict

management as they can allow the employee to evaluate or at least

anticipate the amount of conflict that might be expected in this area.

As Feldman points out, "employees with realistic expectations about the

organization are more likely to choose an organization where at least the

major potential conflicts between personal life and work life can be

avoided" (1981, p. 313).

Development of Work Skills and Abilities

A critical activity in the socialization process involves the

ability of the individual to develop the skills necessary to become an

effective performer. The criticality of this event is highlighted by

Feldman when he proposes that "no matter how motivated the employee,

without enough job skills there is little chance of success" (1981, p.

313). Problems can occur with either too little skill (Dunnette, 1966;

Smith, 1968) or too much skill or overqualification (Dunnette, Arvey, &

Banas, 1973; Berlew & Hall, 1966).

Realistic expectations can play a major role in increasing the

likelihood of skill congruence (Feldman, 1981). Realistic job previews,

for example, may assist in facilitating a closer match between the

requirements of the job and the skills and abilities of the newcomer.

Acquisition of Group Norms and Values

Feldman's third view focuses on the newcomer's attempts to learn the

values and norms of the work group. The impact of the work group on the

socialization process can be significant (Van Maanen, 1978). The work

group can serve as a support system (Dornbush, 1955) and provide
"protection" for the new employee (Becker, Geer, Hughes, & Strauss, 1961)

as they encounter the realities of organization membership. The critical

nature of the relationship between newcomers and their work groups is

unquestioned. As Feldman suggests, "initiation to the group is a major

determinant of adjustment to group norms and values" and "the work group

is a particularly important factor in determining how closely new

recruits adjust to group norms and values" (1981, p. 314).

The task of learning the group's norms and values may present the

most difficulty for the newcomer because of differences between the group

culture and the culture of the larger organization of which it is a part

(Louis, 1983). This activity was found to be a source of frustration to

new employees (Moreland & Levine, 1982) and an important but difficult

task for newcomers (Schein, 1978). This experience with the realities of

the work group along with cues from co-workers (Salancik & Pfeffer, 1978)

may result in personal learning on the part of the newcomer as they

develop a clearer picture of their own needs and expectations (Kotter,

1973; Louis, 1980).

Louis, Posner, and Powell (1983) surveyed recent business school

graduates to determine the types of techniques employed by organizations

in their socialization programs. The three most important socialization

aids identified by Louis et al. were interaction with peers, supervisors

and senior co-workers; of the three, daily interactions with peers while

working was the most important factor in helping newcomers to feel

effective. As Louis et al. (1983) point out, this factor is particularly

important in terms of the processes by which the new employee truly


learns what the organization is like. These findings are consistent with

those of Feldman in terms of the salience of the role of the immediate

work group in helping new recruits adjust socially. It is this social

adjustment process or the learning of a new culture that requires the

newcomer to assimilate the unofficial rules for sorting, labeling, and

interpreting experiences in the organization (Louis et al., 1983). Louis

further notes that it is these unwritten rules that are important in

providing cues for effective membership in the organization.

The critical importance of the newcomer's ability to adjust to the

work group has been discussed by Feldman (1977, 1988). Feldman (1977)

found a strong relationship between adjustment to the work group and the

individual's ability to learn their job. The work group provides support

in dealing with the stress associated with transition (Feldman & Brett,

1983), provides feedback on performance (Hackman, 1976) and helps the

newcomer to "make sense" of the confusing information or cues encountered

during this period (Louis, 1980). One additional impact of the work

group is the facilitating effect that interaction with insiders may have

on the rate at which the socialization process progresses (Reichers,


Given the significant impact of this relationship, it is important

to explore the ways in which organizations conduct their socialization

efforts or "process" their new employees.

People Processing Strategies

A question of critical importance remaining to be thoroughly

examined is what specific strategies or processes do organizations employ

in their socialization efforts and what the impacts of these approaches

are. Van Maanen has provided a point of departure in his exploration of

organizational socialization as a "people processing" activity (Van
Maanen, 1978; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). Van Maanen defines

organizational socialization or "people processing" as "the manner in

which the experiences of people learning the ropes of a new

organizational position, status, or role are structured for them by

others in the organization" (1978, p. 19). Van Maanen's basic premise is

that differences in the acquisition of social knowledge and skills are

not entirely due to individual differences alone. He posits that it is

differences in the techniques or strategies employed by the organization

that cause differential results in the acquisition process.

Van Maanen bases his examination on three basic underlying
assumptions. The first assumption recognizes the tension or anxiety

associated with a transition process. Change creates anxiety in

individuals as they seek to restore a sense of balance or equilibrium.

Unmet or unanticipated expectations serve to heighten the level of

anxiety for the individual undergoing the change (Festinger, 1957).

Efforts are directed at removing or at least reducing the level of

uncertainty (Lewin, 1951), and as suggested by Louis (1980), engaging in
"sense-making" in an unfamiliar and novel environment. The impact of

stress during this time of transition can be substantial and critical to

many aspects of the individual's future in the organization (Beehr &

Bhagat, 1985; Cooper & Marshall, 1977).

The second assumption underlying Van Maanen's work centers on the
individual's effort to obtain information and guidance relative to their

new role. This emphasizes the social context of the learning process and

highlights the impact and importance of the relationships that develop

with co-workers. This assumption acknowledges the importance of social

support during the learning or transitional stage (Sykes & Eden, 1985;

Seers, McGee, Serey, & Graen, 1983; Pilisuk & Parks, 1981; Nelson, 1987).

As Van Maanen suggests "the learning that takes place does not occur in a

social vacuum strictly on the basis of the official and available

versions of the job requirements" (1978, p. 20).

Stability and productivity of the organization are the concerns in

the third assumption. Here the implication is that the socialization

processes of the organization impact the organization's performance.

Although the precise relationship between the socialization process and

organization performance is not clear (Schein, 1968, 1971; Van Maanen &

Schein, 1979; Katz, 1985; Feldman, 1976, 1981, 1984; Louis, 1980) the

relationship is obviously important and in need of further research and


Building upon the assumptions described above, Van Maanen identified

seven strategies of people processing that may occur in an organization's

socialization process. These strategies should be thought of as a

continuum, that is, "each strategy as applied can be thought of as

existing somewhere between two poles of a single dimension" (1978, p.

22). It is therefore possible to view each strategy as a pair of

strategies representing each end of the continuum. The seven strategies

are presented in Table 1-1. Each pair of strategies is discussed in more

detail below.

Formal/Informal Strategies

The primary differentiation between formal and informal strategies

focuses on the setting in which the newcomer's learning takes place.

Formal strategies or processes are typically segregated from the specific

Table 1-1
People Processing Strategies

Independent Variables

Strategy Pair 1:

1. Formal Strategies The degree to which the setting in which the
socialization process takes place is segregated from the ongoing
work content and the degree to which an individual newcomer role is
emphasized and made explicit.

2. Informal Strategies The degree to which there is no sharp
differentiation from other organizational members and much of the
recruit's learning takes place within the social and task-related
networks that surround his or her position.

Strategy Pair 2:

1. Individual Strategies The degree to which individuals are
socialized singly, analogous to unit modes of production.

2. Collective Strategies The degree to which individuals are
socialized collectively, analogous to batch or mass production modes
of production.

Strategy Pair 3:

1. Sequential Strategies The degree to which the transitional
processes are marked by a series of discrete and identifiable stages
through which an individual must pass in order to achieve a defined
role and status within the organization.

2. Nonsequential Strategies The degree to which the socialization
processes are accomplished in one transitional stage.

Strategy Pair 4:

1. Fixed Strategies The degree to which the recruit is provided with
a precise knowledge of the time it will take him to complete a given

2. Variable Strategies The degree to which the recruit is not
provided with any advance notice of their transition timetable.

Strategy Pair 5:

1. Serial Strategies The degree to which experienced members groom
newcomers about to assume similar roles in the organization.

2. Disjunctive Strategies The degree to which a newcomer does not
have predecessors available in whose footsteps he can follow.

Table 1-1-continued

Strategy Pair 6:

1. Investiture Strategies The degree to which the socialization
processes ratify and establish the viability and usefulness of the
characteristics the person already possesses. The degree to which
the socialization processes confirm the incoming identity of a

2. Divestiture Strategies The degree to which the socialization
processes deny and strip away certain entering characteristics of a
recruit. The degree to which the socialization processes dismantle
the incoming identity of a newcomer.

Strategy Pair 7:

1. Tournament The practices of separating selected clusters of
recruits into different socialization programs or tracks on the
basis of presumed differences in ability, ambition, or background.

2. Contest The channels of movement through the various socialization
programs are kept open and depend on the observed abilities and
stated interests of all.

work place and are explicit in terms of skill requirements and behavioral

expectations. Formal strategies "stress general skills and attitudes"

and "work on preparing a person to occupy a particular status in the

organization" (1978, p. 22).

In the informal process, much of the learning occurs at the work

position. Informal strategies "emphasize specified actions, situational

application of the rules, and the idiosyncratic nuances necessary to

perform the role in the work setting" and "prepare a person to perform a

specific role in an organization" (1978, p. 22).

The type of information transmitted in a formal setting is typically

what one would expect to encounter in a formal orientation program;

rules, procedures and policies. The informal process or "on-the-job"

exposure would appear to serve the purpose of transmitting some of the

subtle expectations of the work group. The strategy employed has

implications on the nature of the information transmitted and on the

levels of stress experienced by the newcomer. And, as reported by Louis

et al. (1983) a majority of the organization studied relied upon formal

onsite orientation programs.

Individual/Collective Strategies

This strategy ranges from individual to collective processing of the

new employees. At the individual end of the continuum, the new employee

is socialized singly or in Van Maanen's words, "analogous to the unit

modes of production" (1978, p. 24). In the collective process or

strategy, socialization involves a "batch" of new employees undergoing

the experience as a group. Van Maanen views the collective strategy as

similar to batch or mass production in that "recruits are bunched

together at the outset and processed through an identical set of

experiences," (1978, p. 24).

As might be anticipated, the outcomes associated with each end of

the continuum differ in several respects. Those differences include

changes that occur both in the individual and in the group.

It is important to note at this point the extensive use of

collective processes in organizations in today's environment. As Van

Maanen indicates, individual processes that reflect an apprenticeship

style of socialization are costly. Collective strategies have become the

strategy of choice because of their ease, efficiency, and predictability.

Sequential/Nonsequential Strategies

The distinction here is whether the process follows a set of phases

or stages or if the entire process is accomplished in one step. Job

rotation of increasing levels of responsibility or authority would be

indicative of a sequential process of socialization. The passage may or

may not be marked by some ceremony or acknowledgement of progress similar

to the "rites of passage" or many of the ceremonial recognition of

acceptance (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979; Feldman, 1977; Schein, 1978).

Nonsequential strategies are accomplished in one step. The amount of

structure and the number of steps or stages involved in the sequential

strategy may have differential effects on the new employee. Of equal, if

not more impact, is the differences in the agent or agents who are

charged with handling the different steps (Van Maanen, 1978).

Fixed/Variable Strategies

The continuum addressed by this pair of strategies is that of time.

If the process is marked by distinct steps, as in the sequential process,

the question becomes the length of time required to move from step to


step. If a nonsequential, or one-step program is in place, the length of

time required to transit the entire socialization program is the concern.

The length of time it takes for the socialization process to be

completed has obvious implications for the levels of anxiety and stress

experienced by the newcomer. Van Maanen acknowledges this impact by

stating that "time is an important resource that can be used to control

others" (1978, p. 39). The control of the time interval becomes a

manipulation instrument that can "give an administrator a powerful tool

for influencing individual behavior" (1978, p. 29) while also risking

"creating an organization situation marked by confusion and uncertainty

among those concerned with their movement in the system" (1978, p. 29).

The uncertainty associated with the variable strategy obviously does not

help in diminishing or alleviating the anxiety and tension felt by the

new employee.

Serial/Disjunctive Strategies

This strategy reflects the extent to which the newcomer has

available a current organization member to provide direction and receive

cues from regarding appropriate behavior. Disjunctive strategies reflect

an absence of an organizational model. Predecessors create a path which

the newcomer can follow. Without a predecessor, the new employee is

forced to forge his/her own organizational path. Whether the path

selected is the one the organization favors is left up to chance to a

certain degree. "Whereas the social process risks stagnation and

contamination," Van Maanen suggests, "the disjunctive process risks

complication and confusion" (1978, p. 32). As with the other strategies

discussed so far, the outcomes differ with each end of the strategy



The impact of this particular strategy is highlighted by the work of

Louis et al. (1983). The availability of current employees was deemed

especially helpful in the socialization experience of the newcomer and

significantly affected certain behavioral characteristics.

Investiture/Divestiture Strategies

The process involved here reflects the manner in which the

organization accepts or denies the "identity" of the newcomer. According

to Van Maanen, "investiture processes ratify and establish the viability

and usefulness of the characteristics the person already possess," while

"divestiture processes, on the other hand, deny and strip away certain

entering characteristics of a recruit" (1978, p. 33). An extreme example

of the divestiture process occurs in military boot camp. In this

situation, the new recruit or "boot" is totally stripped of their

incoming identity including the total removal of hair and the issuing of

a simple green uniform without identification. "Boots" are referred to

by number or some other non-specific identification. The attempt here is

to "begin with a clean slate" and to rebuild the recruit in the image

desired by the organization.

Investiture processes focus on the acceptability of the newcomer

where every effort is made to make the transition as easy and comfortable

for the new employee as is possible. It is obvious that these two

extremes elicit much different responses on the part of the newcomer.

The organizational outcomes may be as equally divergent.

Tournament/Contest Strategies

The extent to which a "track" is present in the organizational

socialization process is reflected in this people processing strategy.

Personal differences in ability, background or ambition are the basis for

selection into different programs or tracks (Van Maanen, 1978). Once a

new employee is assigned to a particular track, progress is chartered

according to the levels achieved along that track. Although there are

some conflicting findings in relation to the long-term effects of a

tournament strategy (Forbes, 1987) in general, failure at any point along

the track results in removal from future consideration.

The contest end of the continuum is not as narrow in viewpoint as

the tournament approach in that "the channels of movement through the

various socialization programs are kept open and depend on the observed

abilities and stated interests of all" (1978, p. 30). Rosenbaum further

clarifies the distinction between the strategies by stating that "contest

mobility systems delay selection and allow individuals complete freedom

for mobility, and thus are totally ahistorical" while, on the other hand,

"in the tournament mobility model, careers are conceptualized as a

sequence of competitions, each of which has implications for an

individual's mobility chances in all subsequent selections" (1979, pp.


Van Maanen and Schein acknowledge the impact of the strategies by

indicating that "regardless of the method of choice, any given

socialization device represents an identifiable set of events that will

make certain behavioral and attitudinal consequences more likely than

others" (1979, p. 230). Although Van Maanen did not empirically examine

the presence or impact of the various processing strategies, he did

hypothesize relationships that may occur in terms of organizational

boundary passage. He suggested how various combinations of the

strategies could result in differential responses on the part of the new

employee. Van Maanen and Schein suggest the speculative nature of these


relationships by acknowledging that "these dimensions or processes were

deduced logically from empirical observations and from accounts found in

the social science literature" (1979, p. 232) and further, "we do not

assert here that this list is exhaustive or that the processes are

presented in any order or relevance to a particular organization or

occupation" (1979, p. 232). Van Maanen and Schein, however, do "attempt

to demonstrate that these tactics are quite common to a given boundary

passage and of substantial consequence to people in the organization in

that they partially determine the degree to which the response of the

newcomer will be custodial or innovative" (1979, p. 232). The need

remains for a comprehensive empirical analysis that is directed at

determining the extent to which the various strategies operate in an

organizational setting and whether they operate in combination or


The current study will attempt to explore, in detail, the

considerations identified above. The study will empirically examine the

extent of the relationships among the strategies, that is, the extent to

which they operate independently and/or co-occur in some predictable


One of the few attempts to empirically explore the impact of various

socialization strategies on the attitudes and performance of new

employees was conducted by Jones (1986). Using a sample of one hundred

and two (102) MBA graduates, Jones "investigated the relationship between

the socialization tactics employed by organizations and a series of role

and personal outcomes" (1986, p. 262). The subjects completed a

questionnaire designed to assess Van Maanen's (1978) typology of

strategies approximately five (5) months after joining their

organization. An initial questionnaire was completed prior to entry into

the hiring organizations which assessed levels of self-efficacy. The

subjects had been hired by ninety-six (96) diverse organizations located

in the Sunbelt.

Jones found three clusters of strategies. These were: (1)

investiture vs. divestiture and serial vs. disjunctive; (2) serial vs.

random and fixed vs. variable; and (3) collective vs. individual and

formal vs. informal. Jones further concluded that the results of his

study "reveal a pattern of relationships between tactics and outcomes

supporting the proposition that different socialization tactics lead to

different outcomes of socialization" (1986, p. 274).

The current research differs from the work of Jones in at least two

major ways. The first difference relates to the composition of the

sample. Jones' research utilized "MBA students from two successive

annual graduating classes of a major midwestern university" (1986, p.

267). His sample of 102 was comprised of 73 men and 29 women with an

average age of 24.7 years. As suggested by Feldman (1988) there are

significant changes that occur as an individual moves from the student

role to the organizational role. Not only are there differences between

the student environment and the work world (Kotter, 1975; Hall, 1976) but

as noted by Feldman "their expectations are often way too high, and all

too frequently based on faulty stereotypes or little hard data" (1988, p.


The current research uses a sample of over five hundred individuals

ranging from blue collar to managerial, with the majority falling into

the 25-34 year age range. Over fifty (50) percent of the subjects had

been employed by their organization from two to five years compared with


Jones' five month length of service. An additional consideration in this

regard is the number (96) of employing organizations in the Jones study.

The current study focused on four (4) diverse organizations each

employing a relatively large proportion of the total sample. It is

anticipated that the current study will provide data more applicable to

the working world and less influenced by the impact of the student role.

The further test of a theory of socialization lies in its

applicability to the "real world" or actual organizational settings. Van

Maanen and Schein recognize this imperative by stating "on examining real

organizations, it is empirically obvious that these tactical dimensions

are associated with one another and that the actual impact of

organizational socialization upon a recruit is a cumulative one, the

result of a combination of socialization tactics which perhaps enhance

and reinforce or conflict and neutralize each other" (1979, p. 253).

They (Van Maanen & Schein) go on to conclude that "we do not consider

this a completed theory in that we do not as yet have enough empirical

evidence to determine in a more tightly arranged and logical scheme how

the various socialization tactics can be more or less ordered in terms of

their effects upon recruits being initiated into organizational roles"

(1979, p. 255). Unlike Jones, this dissertation examines the role of

clusters of socialization tactics.

Socialization Outcomes

The second area of difference between this study and the Jones work

relates to the attempt to determine the impact of strategies on the

attitudinal outcomes. Jones' study examines the direct individual

relationship between each processing strategy and several outcomes. This

approach is incomplete in two ways. First, it is important to fully

examine the interrelationships between all strategies to determine

whether they do in fact operate independently or in combination.

Secondly, we need to know what the effects of those combinations are on a

full array of outcomes. The second question to be asked here, then, is:

Are the combinations or patterns of attitudinal outcomes associated with

various patterns of processing strategies?

The discussion of outcomes of socialization is almost as diverse as

are the different approaches to the subject. The criteria or measurement

of socialization results seem to vary according to the emphasis of the

researcher. As Fisher has concluded, "writers who describe the outcomes

of socialization in conceptual papers seem to identify a somewhat

different set than those who operationally measure 'outcomes' for the

sake of having a criterion" (1986, p. 110). The conceptual writers seem

to stress "learning and internalization of norms and values," while the

empirical emphasis is on attitudinal measures (1986, p. 110). Feldman

further points out the differences in approach by stating that

"researchers in the study of organizational socialization have been torn

between studying outcomes of the process which accrue to individuals and

outcomes which accrue to organizations" (1976, p. 26).

Edgar Schein has been prominent in the effort to conceptually

describe the outcomes of socialization. Schein (1968) predicts the

effect upon the degree of innovation that may be present as a result of

the degree of acceptance of the pivotal and relevant norms of the

organization. Schein (1985) indicates that

when the socialization process does not work
optimally, when the new member does not learn the
culture of the work groups, there are usually severe
consequences. At one extreme, if the new employee
does not learn the pivotal or central assumptions of
the organization, that employee usually feels

alienated, uncomfortable, and possibly unproductive.
If the new employee learns elements of a subculture
that seems contrary to the pivotal assumptions of the
total organization, the result can be active
sabotage, or the slowing down of the work of the
organization, leading eventually to stagnation,
revolution, or the weeding out of the dissidents.
(1985, p. 42)

Problems can arise if the socialization process is too extensive. Again,

Schein points out that "at the other extreme, if the employee is

'oversocialized' in the sense of learning every detail of the host

culture, the result is total conformity, leading to inability on the part

of the organization to be innovative and responsive to new environmental

demands" (1985, p. 43). Schein suggests that some median level of

socialization is optimal in creating what he refers to as "creative

individualism." Creative individualism is characterized by a conformity

to the pivotal norms of the organization with selective conformity to the

other less important or relevant norms. The hypothesized result of

creative individualism is a relatively high level of innovative behavior

on the part of the individual (Schein, 1968).

Van Maanen and Schein (1979) hypothesized responses to the "people

processing strategies" posited by Van Maanen (1978). They discussed the

impact of the strategies in terms of the role acquisition of the

newcomer. Custodianship was identified as a possible response to

socialization efforts. Custodianship implies an acceptance of the status

quo. The newcomer assumes a caretaker posture in the role. No attempts

are made to change or alter the role. This response is similar to

Schein's "conformity" (Schein, 1968). This response to socialization is

most likely to occur from a socialization process which is sequential,

variable, serial and involves divestiture (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979).

The second type of response to socialization identified by Van

Maanen and Schein (1979) is called content innovation. Content

innovation is "marked by the development of substantive improvements or

changes in the knowledge base or strategic practices of a particular

role" (1979, p. 228). An attempt is made by the newcomer to

significantly change or alter the role definition, not unlike Schein's

rebellion or creative individualism response (Schein, 1968). Content

innovation responses are likely to result through a socialization process

that is collective, formal, random, fixed and disjunctive (Van Maanen &

Schein, 1979).

The third response is role innovation. While similar to content

innovation, role innovation attempts to fundamentally change the mission

of the role itself. Schein (1971) refers to this response as a genuine

attempt to redefine the ends to which the role functions. Role

innovation is most likely to result from a process that is individual,

informal, random, disjunctive and involves investiture (Van Maanen &

Schein, 1979).

Van Maanen (1978) has posited the impact of the processing

strategies on individual behavioral outcomes. Van Maanen (1978) suggests


if we are interested in strategies that promote a
relatively high degree of similarity in the thoughts
and actions of recruits and their agents, a
combination of the formal, serial, and divestiture
strategies would probably be most effective. If
dissimilarity is desired, informal, disjunctive and
investiture strategies would be preferable. To
produce a relatively passive group of hard-working
but undifferentiated recruits, the combination of
formal, collective, sequential, tournament, and
divestiture strategies should be used. (p. 35)


As has been indicated, empirical examinations of these outcomes have been

limited (Fisher, 1986).

At a more molecular level, the empirical research that has been

directed at the socialization process has tended to rely on attitudinal

measures (Fisher, 1986). Attitudinal measures utilized have included

general job satisfaction (Feldman, 1976; Toffler, 1981; and Louis et al.,

1983), job tension (Toffler, 1981) and internal work motivation, job

involvement and mutual influence (Toffler, 1981; Feldman, 1976). Another

primary outcome appears to relate to the individual's level of commitment

(Louis et al., 1983; Jones, 1986; Wanous, 1980) or intentions of

remaining with the organization (Feldman, 1981; Van Maanen, 1975; Brief,

Aldag, Van Sell, & Malone, 1979; Hall & Schneider, 1972). The outcome

variables that will be used to assess the relationships described above

are listed in Table 1-2.

In order to more fully understand the impact of a selected

socialization strategy on employee attitudes, it is appropriate to

speculate upon the impact of individual people processing strategies on

the anticipated outcomes.

Formal vs. Informal

It would appear that a formal process of socialization would have

the effect of strengthening trust in management because of the dependent

relationship, while an informal process allows the employee to interact

directly with co-workers thereby enhancing the trust relationship with

peers. Commitment to the organization may be elicited by the formal

process because the individual is cut off or isolated from co-workers.

An informal process places the individual directly in the work group and

it is possible that their commitment may be directed to that group versus

Table 1-2
Outcome Variables

1. Interpersonal Trust at Work The extent to which one is willing
to ascribe good interactions to and have confidence in the words and
actions of other people (Cook & Wall, 1980).

2. Organizational Commitment The strength of an individual's
identification with and involvement in a particular organization
characterized by three factors: a strong belief in, and acceptance of,
the organization's goals and values; a readiness to exert considerable
effort on behalf of the organization; and a strong desire to remain a
member of the organization (Porter & Smith, 1970).

3. Job-Induced Tension The degree to which the individual feels
bothered about named features of work (House & Rizzo, 1972).

4. General Job Satisfaction An overall measure of the degree to
which the employee is satisfied and happy in his or her work (Hackman &
Oldham, 1975).

5. Mutual Influence The extent to which individuals feel some
control or power over the way work is carried out in their departments
(Feldman, 1976).

6. Internal Work Motivation The degree to which an employee is
self-motivated to perform effectively on the job (Hackman & Oldham,

7. Job Involvement The degree to which employees are personally
committed and involved in their work (Lodahl & Kejner, 1965).

the organization. Van Maanen (1978) suggests that an informal process

may cause an increase in the tension and anxiety felt by the newcomer as

they attempt to learn appropriate behaviors. The formal strategy may

serve to reduce the anxiety by providing a structured environment. It is

possible that a reduction in the anxiety level experienced may have a

facilitating effect on satisfaction (Siegall & Cummings, 1986).

Collective vs. Individual

Collective strategies would appear to have their greatest impact in

the areas of peer trust, tension-reduction and work group commitment. A

collective strategy places the employees "in the same boat" and elicits

consensual responses to the situation (Van Maanen, 1978). A collective

strategy may also favorably impact the level of job involvement the

newcomer experiences along with a sense of social support (Kirmeyer &

Lin, 1987; Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison, & Sowa, 1986; Henderson &

Argyle, 1985; Pearson, 1982).

Sequential vs. Non-Sequential

The impact of a sequential process would be expected to be found in

the areas of tension reduction. If the sequence is published or made

explicit to the new employee, it may serve to provide performance

feedback to the individual which, if positive, helps in reducing the

anxiety level. Feldman (1988) suggests the impact of a sequential

process in reducing feelings of uncertainty or insecurity thereby

increasing general satisfaction. A non-sequential process may have the

opposite effect if the stages are unknown or unclear.

Fixed vs. Variable

A fixed strategy would appear to have some of the same impacts as a

sequential process. The fixed strategy provides feedback to the

individual, again serving to reduce anxiety and uncertainty (Landau &

Hammer, 1986; Parsons, Herold, & Leatherwood, 1985). The overriding

impacts of these strategies appear to lie in outcomes such as job tension

and satisfaction. Where the time to transition is unclear, an

environment of uncertainty and tension is prevalent.

Serial vs. Disjunctive

In a serial process, the newcomer has available an individual to

serve as a guide. An obvious impact would be in the area of peer trust.

The development of a "mentor-like" relationship has the potential to

create a closeness in the interpersonal relationship (Baird & Kram,

1983). Tension reduction may also result as well as a strong level of

commitment to the individual. If the individual is a superior,

commitment may also be projected toward the organization. The rate at

which the transition from newcomer to full member progresses may also be

impacted by the presence of an organizational guide (Reichers, 1987;

Pinder & Schroeder, 1987).

Investiture vs. Divestiture

The major areas of impact here appear to include trust, commitment,

tension, job satisfaction, mutual influence and job involvement. Feldman

suggests that an investiture process "facilitates new employees' feeling

comfortable" while "divestiture can create feelings of distrust and

dislike which may not be erased even after the probationary period is

over" (1988, p. 91). An investiture process builds and sustains the

identity of the newcomer thereby having a facilitating impact. The

individual is made to feel important and contributing, resulting in a

sense of commitment on the part of the employee (Eisenberger, Huntington,

Hutchison, & Sowa, 1986).


The implications and impacts of the early socialization period are

well known (Cohen, 1973; Bray, Campbell, & Grant, 1974; Berlew & Hall,

1966; Katz, 1985). What is not quite as clear is the actual process that

occurs to cause the differential outcomes that result. This dissertation

will provide new data on that issue.


This chapter examines the methodology used in the dissertation

research. It consists of five sections. The first section presents an

overview of the entire sample. The second section describes the

individual research settings and their respective populations. The third

section is a discussion of the method of entry and data collection

techniques employed in each setting. In the fourth section, the data

collection instrument and procedures are described along with descriptive

statistics related to the instrument. The final section presents

statistics related to the individual research settings and job


Total Sample

The total sample population consists of five hundred and forty-three

(543) subjects from four different organizations. The organizations are

varied and diverse and include a utility company, military unit, a

billing service, and a health care facility.

Fifty-nine (59) percent of the participants were female; forty-one

(41) percent were male. Two-thirds of the subjects were 34 or younger.

Twenty-eight (28) percent of the subjects were employed by their current

employer for less than two years; fifty-one (51) percent were employed

for two to five years; twenty-one (21) percent were employed for more

than five years. The majority of the subjects were employed full-time

(95 percent) with five (5) percent working on a part-time basis. Twenty-


nine (29) percent of the subjects were clerical workers; forty-three (43)

percent engaged in technical work; twenty-eight (28) percent were


Research Settings

All of the organizations were located in or in close proximity to a

large southeastern city. In order to maintain the anonymity of the

participation organizations, they are referred to by fictitious names.

Alpha Utility

Alpha Utility is a major subsidiary of an international corporation.

It can be described as a large, high tech information and communication

services organization. Of a total employee pool of 1,229 full-time

employees, twenty-one (21) percent or 256 individuals participated in the

research project. Sixty-two (62) percent of the sample were female and

thirty-eight (38) percent male. The average length of time of employment

in the organization was 39.9 months and the average length of time of

employment within the subject's department was 18.5 months. In terms of

the type of work performed, approximately ten (10) percent of the sample

was clerical, forty-eight (48) percent technical and forty-two (42)

percent managerial. The entire sample was employed on a full-time basis.

Beta Naval Squadron

The second organization in the study is a Naval Antisubmarine

Helicopter Squadron home based in a coastal city. A total available

subject pool of two hundred (200) personnel provided a participating pool

of one hundred twenty-one (121) subjects, or sixty-one (61) percent of

the total organization. Of the total participants, ninety-one (91)

percent were male and nine (9) percent female. The average length of

time in the organization was 96.8 months with an average time in position

of 20.6 months. Twelve (12) percent of the sample performed clerical

activities, sixty-six (66) percent performed technical jobs, and twenty-

two (22) percent performed management functions.

Gamma Billing Service

Gamma Billing Service is a moderately sized organization performing
activities primarily clerical in nature. The organization provides the

billing and collection functions for individual physicians affiliated

with a large metropolitan hospital. There were one hundred twelve (112)

employees available for the research, of which eighty-six (86) or

seventy-seven (77) percent participated. Ninety (90) percent of the

sample was female. The average length of employment in the organization

was 28.9 months, with the average time on current job of 17.5 months.

Ninety-one (91) percent of the total sample performed clerical functions;

the remaining nine (9) percent were managers. All of the subjects were

full-time employees.

Delta Clinic

The fourth organization participating in the research was a large,

full service pediatric outpatient clinic. The clinic is equipped to

provide many of the services available in an inpatient hospital and

subsequently employs a broad cross section of employees. Of a total

available employee pool of one hundred forty-three (143) employees,

eighty (80) or fifty-six (56) percent participated in the research

project. Eighty-nine (89) percent of the participating sample was female

and eleven (11) percent male. The average length of employment was 41.3

months, with an average employment in current position of 29.4 months.

Forty-four (44) percent of the sample performed clerical tasks, thirty-


seven (37) percent performed technical tasks, and nineteen (19) percent

performed managerial functions.

Tables 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, and 2-4 provide comparative descriptive

statistics on the four research sites on age, job category, time in

organization, and time in current position respectively.

Organizational Entry and Data Collection Procedures

In all organizations, the initial contact was made personally by the

researcher. The researcher introduced himself as a doctoral candidate at

the University of Florida and an instructor in Business Administration at

the University of North Florida. The purpose of the research and the

expected level of involvement on the part of the organization were

briefly discussed, as well as the potential benefits to the organization

as a result of participation. The research project was briefly described

as an attempt to understand the dynamics occurring when an employee first

joins the organization and how that experience impacts the future

relationship between the employee and the organization. In each case, a

meeting was set to discuss the research project in detail; a presentation

was made outlining the theoretical basis for the research and the actual

data collection instrument was reviewed. The actual level of initial

entry varied with each organization but was, in general, at the upper

decision levels. The initial contact person for each organization was as

indicated: Alpha Utility Director, Organizational Development; Beta

Naval Squadron Commanding Officer; Gamma Billing Service Director;

Delta Clinic Clinic Administrator. Entry at this level facilitated the

entire review process. Acceptance of and support of the research project

by this level served to enhance the levels of cooperation throughout the



Less than 25

25 34

35 44

45 55

Over 55















Table 2-1
Sample Distribution by Age

Beta Gamma
Naval Billing
Squadron Service

40% 38%

44% 35%

13% 21%

2% 4%

1% 2%

Table 2-2
Job Category Distribution

Beta Gamma
Naval Billing
Squadron Service

12% 91%

36% 0%

22% 9%





















Table 2-3
Time in Organization









Table 2-4
Time on Job










Less than
2 years

2-5 years

More than
5 years

Util ity













Less than
2 years

2-5 years

More than
5 years











Once the participation decision was made, the researcher maintained

contact with one key individual in each organization to facilitate data

collection and to coordinate the actual mechanics of the process. In

each organization, the contact person was provided with a sufficient

number of questionnaires to allow each available employee the opportunity

to participate. Employee participation was entirely on a voluntary basis

and the confidentiality of the results was stressed. The instruments

were distributed to each employee by the internal mail delivery system of

the organization. The organization allowed the employee to complete the

questionnaire on company time. Collection points were specified where

the employee could either hand deliver their completed questionnaire or

return via the mail system. In each organization, the collection process

was accomplished within three days.

A brief discussion of the differential response rates among the

participating organizations seems appropriate. Specifically, the lower

participation rate experienced at Alpha Utility requires some

explanation. The participation rate of 21 percent is consistent with

standard response rates in this type of survey. It is possible that the

lower rates at Alpha are due to the very large size of the total

organization in comparison to the others. In each organization, the

project was fully and enthusiastically supported by management and the

impact of this support may have been diluted with the size of Alpha.

In accordance with the participation agreement, each organization

was provided with feedback. As agreed, individual employee anonymity was

maintained and the organizations received aggregate data only. This

information was provided upon the completion of data analysis by the

researcher, with the assurance that the organization would be provided

with additional feedback upon completion of the entire research project.

Instruments and Measures

A questionnaire was utilized for data collection. An identical form

of the questionnaire was used in all four organizations. A copy of the

questionnaire appears in Appendix A, along with the cover letter. The

questionnaire consisted of three parts. Each of these sections will be

described in detail below.

Questionnaire--Part I

Part I of the questionnaire consisted of thirty (30) questions

dealing with the socialization process as perceived by the individual

employee. The questions measure Van Maanen's (1978) hypothesized "people

processing strategies." Van Maanen included a seventh pair of

strategies, tournament vs. contest, which were not included in the

current research. Van Maanen describes the tournament strategy as "the

practice of separating selected clusters of recruits into different

socialization programs or tracks on the basis of presumed difference in

ability, ambition or background" (1978, pp. 29-30). Contest strategies

imply "the avoidance of a sharp distinction between superiors and

inferiors of the same rank" (1978, p. 30). These strategies were

excluded from the current research because it was anticipated that the

ability to make this distinction would be limited given the nature of the

data collection techniques employed. Additionally, it would appear that

this separation is made by employee superiors; as such, it would be the

perceptions of the superior rather than perceptions of the employee

undergoing the socialization process that would be critical. (Jones,

1986, also did not measure this people processing tactic.)

Items used were largely based on Jones' (Jones, 1986) attempt to

empirically measure these strategies. Slight modification of items was

deemed necessary in light of the nature of the subject pool. Jones'

questionnaires were originally designed for MBA's, a more highly educated

workforce than the target population in this study, and it appeared that

the readability level of the Jones questionnaire would be too high for

present subjects. To test this assumption, a readability analysis was

conducted utilizing the Random House Readability Analysis Program (1981).

This program analyzes the text using recognized indices, including the

Flesch Index (Flesch, 1948) and the Fog Index (Gunning, 1968). The

questions were also analyzed using the Fry Method (Fry, 1969) with

consistent results: the Jones instrument was found to be written at or

above a twelfth grade level.

The researcher sought to adjust the level to one more in line with

the large population of lower level employees, especially the large

number of clerical employees in the sample. By utilizing the vocabulary

feature of the IBM 360 Displaywrite program, the vocabulary level was

adjusted to an eighth (8) grade level. It was anticipated that this

would enhance the understanding of the question without significantly

impacting the content or intent of the statements. Table 2-5 is

presented as a comparison between the data obtained by Jones (Jones,

1986) and the data generated by the current research. In general, the

means are lower, the standard deviations smaller and the discrete

statistics are roughly comparable.

The first section contains items which measure individual

perceptions of the six strategies of their organization's "people

processing." The employee was to respond to the questions in accordance

Table 2-5
Comparison of Jones Data to Current Research
on Independent Variable Scales


Formal vs. Informal

Collective vs. Individual

Fixed vs. Variable

Sequential vs. Non-Sequential

Serial vs. Disjunction

Investiture vs. Divestiture

Jones (N=102)
x s.d.

3.6 1.28

4.3 1.70

4.1 1.46

4.5 1.51

5.0 1.41

5.3 1.18

Current (N=543)
x s.d.

3.5 1.03

3.9 1.14

3.5 1.26

3.6 1.18

4.1 1.21

4.7 1.21


with how they felt during the first few weeks on the job. The six scales

and the items which comprised each are listed below.


11. I went through a set of training experiences which were specifically

designed to give me and the other new people a complete knowledge of

job related skills.

12. I was very aware that I was seen as "learning the ropes" by my more

senior co-workers.

14. Much of my job knowledge was gained informally on a trial and error

basis. (Reverse Score)

28. I did not do any of my usual job duties until I was completely

familiar with department procedures and work methods.


4. During the first few weeks, I was largely involved with other new

employees in common training activities.

16. This organization puts all new employees through the same set of

learning experiences.

17. Most of my training was carried out separately from other new

employees. (Reverse Score)

23. There was a feeling of "being in the same boat" among other new


29. Other new employees were very helpful in my learning my job duties.

1ltem #21 "During my training for this job I was normally physically
separated from my regular work group," was dropped from the analysis
because it was not significantly related to any other item in the scale.


1. I saw a clear pattern in the way one early job assignment led to


2. The steps in the career ladder were clearly spelled out to me.

5. In the beginning, I was moved from job to job to build up experience

and a track record.

9. Each stage of the training process built upon the job knowledge

gained during the previous stages of the training process.

13. This organization did not put new employees through a recognizable

training program. (Reverse Score)


3. The way in which my progress through this organization would follow

a fixed order of events was made clear to me.

7. I had a good idea of the time it would take me to go through the

various stages of the training process.

8. Most of my knowledge of what might happen to me in the future came

informally, through the grapevine, rather than through regular

channels. (Reverse Score)

30. I had little idea when I was going to get my next job assignment or

training assignment. (Reverse Score)


10. I was generally left alone to discover what my job duties should be

in this organization. (Reverse Score)

2Item #25 "I could predict my future career path in this organization by
observing what happened to other employees," was dropped from the
analysis because it was not significantly related to the other items in
the scale.

20. Experienced employees saw advising or training me and other new

employees as one of their main job duties.

22. I had little or no access to people who had previously performed my

job. (Reverse Score)

26. I gained a clear understanding of my job duties from observing my

senior co-workers.

27. I received little guidance from experienced employees as to how I

should perform my job. (Reverse Score)


6. Almost all of my co-workers were helpful to me.

15. My co-workers went out of their way to help me adjust to this


18. I was made to feel that my skills and abilities were very important

to this organization.

19. I felt that experienced employees held me at a distance until I

conformed to their expectations. (Reverse Score)

24. I had to change my attitudes and values to be accepted in this

organization. (Reverse Score)

Tables 2-6 and 2-7 present the descriptive statistics related to the

people processing strategies. Included in the tables are the scale and

item mean scores, standard deviations, the mean inter-item correlations,

and the mean intra-item correlations. The inter- and intra-item

correlations were included to assess the extent of the relationships

between items comprising the scales and all other scale items. For

example, the items which are expected to measure the same construct

should be highly correlated with each other and should not be similarly

related to items making up other constructs. With the exception of the

a- 0
U +
O (rO C- CJ CM fn
(01 C- CM CM CM I

0) i- C .

4- 3- ) 0 p


4- 0

Uo 0 a) D a

rlo C ri) n M

r- a E a *- 0)


> <0 3

Table 2-7
Item Statistics for People Processing Strategies

Item Mean Score

1 3.9
2 3.3
3 3.2
4 3.6
5 3.1
6 5.3
7 4.0
8* 3.3
9 4.2
10* 3.8
11 3.5
12 4.7
13* 3.7
14* 3.2
15 4.5
16 3.1
17* 3.8
18 4.7
19* 4.1
20 3.8
21 (not used) 2.8
22* 4.6
23 4.7
24* 4.7
25 (not used) 3.9
26 4.0
27* 4.3
28 2.7
29 4.2
30* 3.5

Standard Deviation


*Reported means are means after scores reversed.

scale with the lowest alpha (Formal/Informal), the average within-scale

correlations are higher than the average interscale correlations. The

average Cronbach alpha was .64.

Questionnaire--Part II

The second section of the questionnaire consists of a set of

statements that reflect the employees' current feelings about their job.

Part II contained forty-three (43) questions which comprised eight (8)

scales. These scales or attitudinal measures were hypothesized to be

related to the socialization process encountered by the employee. The

employees were asked to respond to the questions based on how they felt

at the present time about their job. The eight (8) scales are listed

below indicating the items comprising them and the original source of the


Interpersonal Trust at Work (Cook & Wall, 1980) Sub-Scale

Faith in Peers

39. I can trust the people I work with to lend me a hand if I need it.

53. Most of my co-workers can be relied upon to do as they say they will


68. If I got into difficulties at work I know my co-workers would try

and help me out.

Faith in Management

55. I feel quite confident that the firm will always try to treat me


60. Management at my firm is sincere in its attempt to meet the worker's

point of view.

72. Our management would be quite prepared to gain advantage by

deceiving the workers. (Reverse Score)

Organizational Commitment (Porter & Smith, 1970) Sub-Scale

31. I would accept almost any type of job assignment in order to keep

working for this organization.

36. This organization really inspires the very best in me in the way of

job performance.

47. I find that my values and the organization's values are very


50. I am willing to put in a great deal of effort beyond that normally

expected in order to help this organization be successful.

51. I am proud to tell others that I am part of this organization.

54. For me this is the best of all possible organizations in which to


57. I really care about the fate of this organization.

61. I am extremely glad that I chose this organization to work for, over

others I was considering at the time I joined.

64. I talk up this organization to my friends as a great organization to

work for.

Job-Induced Tension (House & Rizzo, 1972) Sub-Scale

32. I often "take my job home with me" in the sense that I think about

it when doing other things. (Reverse Score)

37. If I had a different job, my health would probably improve.

(Reverse Score)

43. My job tends to directly affect my health. (Reverse Score)

45. I have felt nervous before attending meetings in the company.

(Reverse Score)

46. I have felt fidgety or nervous as a result of my job. (Reverse


58. Problems associated with my job have kept me awake at night.

(Reverse Score)

67. I work under a great deal of tension. (Reverse Score)

General Job Satisfaction (Hackman & Oldham, 1975) Complete Scale

44. Generally speaking, I am very satisfied with this job.

49. I am generally satisfied with the kind of work I do in this job.

63. People on this job often think of quitting. (Reverse Score)

65. Most people on this job are very satisfied with the job.

71. I frequently think of quitting this job. (Reverse Score)

Mutual Influence (Feldman, 1976)

33. Any suggestions I may have for improving the way things are done

here would probably receive favorable consideration by my superiors.

48. If I had an idea about improving the way work was done in this

department, I doubt I could get action on it. (Reverse Score)

56. I feel I have a lot of influence in my unit.

62. I have a lot of opportunities to influence the way things are done

here in my organization.

Internal Work Motivation (Hackman & Oldham, 1975) Complete Scale

34. Most people on this job feel a great sense of personal satisfaction

when they do the job well.

35. My opinion of myself goes up when I do this job well.

40. I feel a great sense of personal satisfaction when I do this job


66. Most people on this job feel bad or unhappy when they find they have

performed the work poorly.

70. My own feelings generally are not affected much one way or the other

by how well I do on this job. (Reverse Score)


73. I feel bad and unhappy when I discover that I have performed poorly

on this job.

Job Involvement (Lodahl & Kejner, 1965) Sub-Scale

38. The most important things that happen to me involve my work.

41. I'm really a perfectionist about my work.

42. The major satisfaction in my life comes from my job.

52. I live, eat and breathe my job.

59. I am very much involved personally in my work.

69. Most things in life are more important than work. (Reverse Score)

Tables 2-8, and 2-9 present the descriptive statistics for the

dependent variables. Item and scale mean scores, mean inter-item

correlations, and mean intra-item correlations are included. All of the

mean intra-scale correlations are substantially higher than the inter-

scale correlations. The average Cronbach alpha was .80.

Questionnaire--Part III

The third part of the questionnaire contains general demographic

information. The individual items were made as specific as possible

while providing anonymity for the subject. Each organization's

questionnaire was customized in this section to reflect job category

titles appropriate to that organization. Copies of each organization's

Part III are in Appendix A. Other demographics included length of time

employed by the organization, length of time in current position, age

(categorized), sex, and full or part-time work. Military respondents

were asked whether they were enlisted or officer rank.

Organization and Job Category Statistics

The final section of this chapter presents statistical data related

to each of the organizations and to categorizations created by job type.




I- C

Eu ',,- ., l 0

CV i


C *u- c- -4
4. )
( c"a

Cl 0
10 *
goi n


n C
I- E

i- as


00 t0o 0 (7
Ci 0 r) C4

CO rl 44 LO
co r- 0o co

r-4 o -4 00

c 0 u

S 00 5
*r U 0

* "- c 4-1
C E (- to MO 0
L 0 0
o -3





r-- "-

00 r
*c *C-

c00 0

m. o
u.~ ;

.- m
S- 4-)
a 0

Table 2-9
Item Statistics for Attitudinal Outcomes



Mean Score


*Reported means are means after scores reversed.

Standard Deviation


Table 2-10 indicates the means and standard deviations for each of the

people processing strategies by organization. The same statistics are

presented for the attitudinal outcomes, by organization, in Table 2-11.

The results of an analysis of variance are also included in Tables 2-10

and 2-11. In Table 2-12, means and standard deviations for the people

processing strategies are presented by job category. The attitudinal

outcome statistics by job category are shown in Table 2-13. The results

of an analysis of variance by job category are also included in Tables 2-

12 and 2-13.





m ul




r- 0 W

r-4 r-4
o o
0 0o
O o
o 0

o -
C 4- u

m 0
o o
* *
0 -

0 0
0 0
0 0


o- 1:

n) mr a\ 7-4 c\j

cl C4 (Y4 -W
* *1
co c c ^ ^

o o

- C,,
-14 C-4

9-4 -

CO) CO) CM m

LO a%
o o
9- 9i

.b- 0
9-4 9-













=3 I



~0 Um
O -

q- Vi Lc0 CO 0

c) qc co cV) *l-



0 0



3 0)

I) U
v) LL

0 C Ob Ih

cc,) ~c,) ,)

C,) t0


LL. V-4 UO r U) r- I -
o 0 O O O -
o o O o o o O O
A 0 0 C 0 0 0 0

S0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

C\ U) 9 9 CM C! 0 )

a- 0 C D CD D D
SC C.J n 41) co CD O Cn


L O O o -

II- f l C) ) O M ) 0)

--* -4 c O *

-4 0 "-4 -4 0 0)

r 5>
u* N O )N n

ro U 4 0 0 C 0 q -N 0 0 O

O --O C */ C,
* ND (V U) 0) N U m
4 0U) cV) |X ( e C

m a r4 r4 O 4 -C) CO OC

0)4C) C- IS
S.n in mr o 0

to- 4-) o 4- z 2 n_
4 4) to S- 0 0 0- m c0

o.r. .
I 9^ *j *, *

in *3 *3- f0 h3 un <3

v Ilc E ~ -" Z -3-

u. co 4 co C to Ln
O o C O r-. a) r-_

A o o c-i cr> o o
o 0 0 0 0 0

o co o 0 co 0
L D *C

S 0 O C0 0 CO DO

'o co co Lc 0

C0 r-

Cr) r-









0 CM
I-< -4

1: 1.4

mC M

e.4 c,,J
- -4

.4 in .4 .
* *
cr P ro


I- M
T-i 1-

M- (4 cY. cU) 9, ":




Y-4 *F-
1 01

M U)

01 1






m 0)

-4 i-4

*d- %D r- L r-4 co

C,; C4 C C4 4 4

*I- s-

(7 x Lm >
V) .- *u V)
01 .r-- + *r

4 U- 0 (/) .. (/12 U

0 C

* *-

CM- r-
1-4 -i

A -

0. 0

i- r-
JI -4


o c-



Un ,

*- *




-19< Cn

C- > -

-4 -4 -4
* *
F- -i *

* *

00 '- r-.

3 T t3-

4-J C 4
Wfl 0 4
.4- C C

I- c4 a S- C e
- OC C m *- 00 4)
to 4 4- + .i- ) 0 4- >
C_ D (A C 4-E .4- VI CE 0 r-
.'S 0 3 40- Vi *'- CC 0
-y0 6 N*- Ct 0> >
3U U E to C- C
4-* 4J M -O t o 4J 1
4-0 0 C 0- u .0 .0 .41 4AE 41
4-) ) D ? S- 0 0 r C 0

0 0 0 0C
0 0 0 C0

co ol o c
- *r

O -4 CO
-< *-I

o o
0 0

0 0

r.- U

to LO

* *
* *

cI 0

U* (4

r-4 cD
co Ch
0 0

Ln C4


In this chapter, the results of the research will be presented and

discussed. This chapter will include five sections. The first section

presents the results of a correlational analysis among the people

processing strategies. The second section indicates the results of a

correlational analysis among the outcomes or attitudinal variables. In

the third section, the results of a correlational analysis between the

individual processing strategies and the individual outcomes are

presented. The fourth section shows the results of a cluster analysis

conducted to identify the patterns of relationships between the people

processing strategies. The final section describes a discriminant

analysis conducted to determine the impact of patterns of processing

strategies on the attitudinal outcomes.

People Processing Strategy Correlations

A Pearson product-moment correlational analysis was conducted to

determine the extent of the relationship between each of the pairs of

people processing strategies. It is important at this point to note that

the strategies were viewed as ends of a continuum for the purposes of

this research. The questions were constructed in such a way that a high

score, seven (7), would reflect a strategy consistent with the variable

name. A low score, one (1), would reflect the opposite end of the

continuum and therefore the opposite strategy. For example, the variable

named "formal" is constructed to reflect a formal process when a high


score (7) is recorded while a lower score (1) represents an "informal"

strategy. This reasoning is consistently applied across each of the

strategy pairs.

Table 3-1 contains the results of the correlation analysis conducted

among the processing strategies.

Each processing pair and its relationship to the other pairs will be

considered below.

Formal vs. Informal

The formal end of the strategy pair represents the extent to which

the newcomer is segregated from the regular work place while an informal

strategy indicates that there is no differentiation from current

organizational members. Relatively high inter-correlations are present

between the formal strategy pair and four of the other pairs ranging from

(r = .49) to (r = .55). The lowest was found between the formal strategy

and the investiture pair (r = .24).

Collective vs. Individual

The collective strategy reflects socialization as a group while

individual strategies indicate the process occurring singly. The highest

correlation present was that between the collective and formal strategy

pairs (r = .49). Three other pairs were fairly consistent in the range

(r = .32) to (r = .35). Once again, the lowest relationship was with the

investiture strategy, (r = .12).

Sequential vs. Non-Sequential

Sequential strategies are marked by discrete and identifiable stages

of passage. In non-sequential strategies, the socialization process is

accomplished in one step. The highest relationship found here was

Correlations Among













-e .24***

( )=







Table 3-1
People Processing Strategies

N = 543

Sequential Fixed Serial












*** p < .001
** p < .01

between sequential strategies and the fixed strategy (r = .68). Two

other strategies, formal and serial, had correlations of (r = .55) and (r

= .54) respectively. At the lowest levels were investiture (r = .36) and

collective (r = .35) strategies.

Fixed vs. Variable

With a fixed strategy, the time of transition from newcomer to

member is fixed. The variable strategy reflects an open-ended time

frame. The highest relationship was found to be between the fixed

strategy and the sequential process (r = .68). Investiture (r = .41)

fell toward the lower end.

Serial vs. Disjunctive

The serial strategy reflects the availability of role models for the

newcomer while the disjunctive strategy reflects the absence of models.

Four of the strategies ranged from (r = .52) to (r = .54). The

collective strategy was at the (r = .34) level.

Investiture vs. Divestiture

Where the newcomer's identity and ability has been ratified by the

organization, investiture has occurred. A process of divestiture strips

away the incoming identity of the newcomer. The strongest correlation

found here was with the serial strategy (r = .52). The other strategies

ranged from (r = .41) to (r = .24). The collective strategy had the

lowest correlation with the investiture strategy (r = .12).

Although the actual correlations derived were not of substantial

magnitude (the highest level found was .68), they do demonstrate a

consistent pattern of high interrelationships among the processing



Two specific patterns appear to be present. The first pattern seems

to contain strategies that are consistent with Van Maanen's

conceptualization of a "batch" or "mass production" approach to people

processing. This involves a strategy which is formal, collective,

sequential, fixed and serial in content. This is also similar in some

respects to Jones' (1986) classification of an institutionalized set of

processing tactics.

The second pattern that appears to be present is analogous to Van

Maanen's concept of "unit" people processing. This set of strategies

would involve a process that is individual, informal, non-sequential,

variable and disjunctive in form. There are similarities once again with

Jones' (1986) "individualized" categorization.

The most significant difference related to the investiture strategy.

In each case, the investiture strategy was an outlier, unrelated to other

people processing tactics.

Attitudinal Outcomes Correlations

A Pearson product-moment correlational analysis was conducted to

examine the pattern of relationships among the dependent attitudinal

variables. The results of the analysis are shown in Table 3-2.

Prior to discussing the relationships and patterns present in the

attitudinal measures, it is informative to first examine the variables


Peer Trust

This factor reflects the confidence placed in the words and actions

of the newcomer's peers. The strongest relationships here were with

mutual influence (r = .50), management trust (r = .48), job satisfaction

(r = .48), and organization commitment (r = .45).


10 >





LL- .0U

c = C)



0 ~ J Q'
C "c 4-
-~ I- V)

1- C'c)*-
(f4. c~O)
4.) Ua-4
* HLJ0In

(d r+

I- I L V
1-5, W3
o~c ZO



.9 .9

.9' .
.9' .9 .9

C) cli

00 0 (c M
- F. '0 dU

C .9' .9 .9 .9
E ) C4 0 F-.

02 r- Cm) C r., C)
00 1- m *



g C~

0)1- 01I--
w.- I

Ulf ic c C) co

d r jLC) m C'.

to 0) 4. u
]C C 0,

N 3 t c) 0- 4)
.i4. 0 4- mG >
C~- *, U) 0~ > 0.

m0 4- *3 4104- S 4J m
C u -) F 1-j V :mX: 'D

Management Trust

Management trust is a reflection of the confidence that the newcomer

has in their superiors. The impact of this factor is found to be most

significant in terms of commitment to the organization (r = .73) and job

satisfaction (r = .70).

Organization Commitment

Commitment reflects the strength of the individual's identification

with and involvement in the organization. As noted above, job

satisfaction (r = .70) and management trust (r = .73) play a significant

part in the level of commitment to the organization.

Job-Induced Tension

Tension here is the measure of features of the job which "bother"

the individual to a significant degree. The greatest impact of this

outcome seems to be in the area of job satisfaction (r = .35). A

secondary area of impact is the level of management trust (r = .35).

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is an overall measure of the degree to which the

individual is satisfied or happy in their work. As discussed earlier,

commitment (r = .78) to the organization and management trust (r = .70)

are strongly associated with this factor.

Mutual Influence

The extent to which the individual feels control or power over their

work is measured by the degree of mutual influence experienced. The

strongest relationships here are with organization commitment (r = .68),

management trust (r = .64), and job satisfaction (r = .63).

Internal Work Motivation

Internal work motivation reflects employee self-motivation to

perform effectively. This variable is most highly associated with

organization commitment (r = .53), mutual influence (r = .46), and job

satisfaction (r = .45).

Job Involvement

Employee personal commitment to the work and feelings of involvement

are reflected in this variable. Job involvement is most significantly

related to organization commitment (r = .49) and internal work motivation

(r = .48).

There appears to be a strong relationship between the dependent

variables. The data suggests a relatively high level of intercorrelation

among the attitudinal variables, with the exception of job involvement.

Job involvement appears to be an outlier.

Relationships Between Individual Processing Strategies and Outcomes

In this section, the results of the correlation analysis between the

individual people processing strategy pairs and the attitudinal outcomes

are presented. Table 3-3 displays these relationships.

The first significant pattern of results is the almost complete lack

of impact present in the relationship between the formal and collective

processing strategies and the attitudinal outcomes. With few exceptions,

the correlations are not significant, and where there is statistical

significance it is of such a small magnitude as to be considered


A second interesting pattern of results occurs among sequential,

fixed, and serial processing strategies. The results of the

correlational analysis indicates a relationship among these three









*** p < .001
** p < .01
* p < .05

Table 3-3
Correlations Between People
Strategies and Attitudinal

N = 543

Formal Collective Sequential

.06 .04 .14**

.15*** .08 .25***

.13** .09* .23***

-.05 -.03 -.06

.11** .06 .19***

.08 .07 .16***

.01 .06 .13**

.01 -.01 .07


Fixed Serial Investiture

.17*** .23*** .49***

.34*** .28*** .48***

.26*** .21*** .44***

-.19*** -.13** -.27***

.29*** .20*** .45***

.23*** .20*** .50***

.09* .11** .28***

.10* .02 .10*

variables that is consistent in terms of magnitude and statistical

significance. There appears consistent moderate correlations among these

strategies and all the attitudinal variables except job involvement.

The third significant relationship here is that between the

investiture strategy and the outcomes. Without exception, the strongest

relationships occur between this one strategy and each of the attitudinal

outcomes. A further distinction can be made by separating the outcome

variables into internal work factors and interpersonal factors. When

this is done, it is obvious that the most significant impact of the

investiture strategy is in the area of interpersonal relationships.

Cluster Analysis Results

Cluster analysis is a method of classifying variables into groups,

or clusters. Nunnally defines a cluster as "consisting of variables that

correlate highly with one another and have comparatively low correlations

with variables in other clusters" (1978, p. 429), while Kerlinger

describes a cluster as "a subset of a set of 'objects'--persons, tests,

concepts, and so on--the members of which are more similar or closer to

each other than they are to members outside the cluster" (1973, p. 576).

In the present case, the "objects" of the analysis were the research

subjects. The criterion utilized for assignment to a particular cluster

were the processing strategies.

The CLUSTER procedure (SAS, 1985) was utilized to determine the

hierarchical clusters present in the people processing strategies. The

centroid hierarchical method (Sokal & Michener, 1958) was employed in the

clustering routine. The technique is briefly described by Everitt (1974)

as one in which "groups are depicted to lie in Euclidean space, and are

replaced in formation by the co-ordinates of their centroid. The

distance between groups is defined as the distance between the group

centroids. The procedure then is to fuse groups according to the

distance between their centroids, the groups with the smallest distance

being fused first" (1974, p. 12).

Cluster analysis provides the capacity to deal with a large amount

of data in such a manner as to "give a more concise and understandable

account of the observations under consideration. In other words,

simplification with minimal loss of information is sought" (Everitt,

1974, p. 4). A second objective of cluster analysis is to produce groups

which form the basis of a classification scheme useful in later studies

for predictive purposes (Everitt, 1974). Both of these objectives were

sought in the current research.

The FASTCLUS procedure (SAS, 1985) identified two distinct clusters.

Table 3-4 indicates the processing strategy mean scores for the two

clusters. The two clusters represent the two distinctive patterns

discussed previously: "unit" and "batch" approaches to socialization.

Cluster I is reflective of the "batch" approach and Cluster II reflects

an "unit" orientation. Figure 3-1 visually demonstrates the differences

between the two clusters.

Discriminant Analysis Results

In order to determine the relationships between the clusters of

processing strategies and the outcome variables described earlier, a

discriminant analysis was conducted. Klecka defines discriminant

analysis as "a statistical technique which allows the researcher to study

the differences between two or more groups of objects with respect to

several variables simultaneously" (1980, p. 7). In the present research,

the group of objects are the two clusters of subjects that were derived

Table 3-4
Cluster Analysis
People Processing Strategies Mean Scores

Cluster I Cluster II

I s.d. X s.d.

Formal 4.2 .87 2.9 .76

Collective 4.4 1.06 3.4 1.01

Fixed 4.4 .94 2.6 .86

Sequential 4.4 .89 2.9 .88

Serial 4.9 .83 3.3 .93

Investiture 5.3 .87 4.1 1.22









7 6 5 4








3 2 1

Figure 3-1
Cluster Analysis


with the cluster analysis. The discriminating factors are the outcome or

attitudinal variables described earlier. The process, then, is directed

at finding the discriminant function, described by Kerlinger as "a

regression equation with a dependent variable that represents group

membership. The function maximally discriminates the members of the

group; it tells us to which group each member probably belongs" (1973, p.


The results of the discriminant analysis are shown in Table 3-5. It

is important to note that for every outcome variable, Cluster I mean

scores are higher than Cluster II mean scores. The mean scores for each

cluster are plotted in Figure 3-2 to facilitate a comparison between the

two. The results of the discriminant analysis, together with the

conclusions of the cluster analysis, point out a significant finding. It

would appear that when a "unit" type of socialization process is

experienced (that is, one which is informal, individual, variable, non-

sequential and disjunctive), we can expect somewhat lower attitudinal

outcomes. A "batch" process (formal, collective, fixed, sequential, and

serial) tends to have somewhat more positive responses on the same

attitudinal measures.

The data derived from the cluster analysis and the subsequent

discriminant analysis suggest that there are, in fact, recognizable

patterns of people processing strategies present. Further, these

patterns have a systematic relationship with the attitudinal variables

described earlier. The implications and applications of these results

will be developed further in the next chapter.

Table 3-5
Discriminant Analysis

Attitudinal Outcomes Mean Scores

Cluster I

X s.d.

Peer Trust 5.2 1.11

Management Trust 4.6 1.40

Organization Commitment 4.9 1.06

Job Induced Tension 4.2 1.12

Job Satisfaction 4.6 1.22

Mutual Influence 4.6 1.28

Internal Work Motivation 5.4 .79

Job Involvement 3.9 .98

Cluster II

J s.d.

4.8 1.40

3.7 1.54

4.3 1.26

3.7 1.16

3.9 1.32

3.9 1.57

5.3 .87

3.8 1.13

N = 279

N = 264


V) I

I I I I 1
7 6 5 4 3

Figure 3-2
Discriminant Analysis










This chapter summarizes the results of the research and discusses

the implications of the results for organizational socialization

programs. This chapter consists of four sections. The first two

sections examine, in turn, the relationships among the people processing

strategies and the relationships between the people processing strategies

and the attitudinal outcomes. The third portion of the chapter discusses

methodological issues in the research on organizational socialization,

while the fourth, and last, segment discusses the organizational

applications of the findings of the research.

Relationships Among the People Processing Strategies

One of the major purposes of the current research was to empirically

examine the patterns of people processing strategies posited by Van

Maanen (1978). The correlational analysis suggests that the various

strategies, while theoretically conceived of as being independent, were

in actuality highly interrelated. Two distinct patterns emerged: a

"unit" strategy and a "batch" mode of socialization.

The "unit" strategy is indicative of a customized strategy for one

individual. For instance, this strategy might be used when a single new

employee enters an organization into a position for which there is no

current incumbent (e.g., executive succession) or for which the time

required for transition to full member is unknown or unclear (e.g., Ph.D.

students). One might further speculate the application of a "unit"


strategy in situations where the organization is relatively small in

size, with highly technical or professional tasks, and where innovative

behavior is encouraged and expected. Examples of this type of

organization might include high-technology development firms, specialized

or custom-work shops, and creativity-driven organizations such as market

research and management consulting firms. The "unit" approach to

socialization would involve a process which is relatively individual,

informal, non-sequential, variable and disjunctive in nature.

In contrast, the "batch" approach reflects a strategy which tends to

be more formal, collective, sequential, fixed and serial in structure.

Typically, "batch" socialization programs are conducted with large groups

of new recruits, over a specified time period, and involve specific

phases or steps. The types of organizations where one might encounter a

"batch" type of process, not surprisingly, are also those where a high

volume of rather routine tasks and activities occur. Large manufacturing

or clerically based organizations would appear to be examples here.

Assembly-line operations such as automobile manufacturing or firms where

a high volume of paper processing occurs (i.e., insurance) would seem to

be the likely location for a "batch" oriented socialization process.

However, it is not easy to globally categorize any one organization

or job classification. Any single organization, for instance, may be

comprised of several elements that fall into both of the above

classifications. Thus, an organization may at the same time involve in

its subsystems socialization processes that are both "unit" and "batch."

It is for the above reason and because of the added complexity that the

researcher chose not to include comparisons within the individual


organizations. These comparisons will require further attention and are

more appropriate for future research and analysis.

One might also hypothesize that unit socialization would be more

common with "resocialized" employees (e.g., those who are transferred or

promoted to new departments) while batch socialization would be more

common with large groups of new recruits. Feldman and Brett (1983, 1985)

conducted a comparison of the coping differences between new hires and

job changers. Some of the differences they highlighted have relevance

here in terms of the different processing strategies. For example,

Feldman and Brett found that new hires "are typically given three to six

months to learn their new job, take part in formal training and benefit

from a great deal of unsolicited, informal help" (1985, p. 62). Job

changers, on the other hand "are expected 'to hit the ground running,'

and to exhibit the same high level of performance on the new job as they

did on the old" (1985, p. 62). Furthermore, job changers report "that

they receive very little unsolicited help and feel that asking for help

would be seen as a sign of weakness" (1985, p. 62). Also, Feldman and

Brett note that most newcomers are hired in groups, but job changers

often enter one at a time. These very distinct differences have

significant relevance for the socialization process.

Another important finding of this research is the independence of

the investiture/divestiture strategy from the other strategies. The

analysis here suggests that the investiture/divestiture strategy is not

closely associated with the other strategies. This is a different

finding than that of Jones (1986). Jones found three clusters of

strategies which he categorized as being concerned with context, content

and social aspects. Jones' contextual tactics included the


formal/informal and collective/individual strategy; his content tactics

were the sequential/non-sequential and fixed/variable pairs; and his

social aspect tactics included the serial/disjunctive and

investiture/divestiture sets. Jones further classified the strategies as

either institutionalized (collective, formal, sequential, fixed, serial

and investiture) or individualized (individual, informal, non-sequential,

variable, disjunctive and divestiture).

The current research does not support this classification scheme.

Investiture here seems to reflect the quality of the interpersonal

relationships found in the organization between newcomers and established

members, and seems to be separate and distinct from the unit/batch

dichotomy. It is conceivable that this result reflects the fact that

newcomers can psychologically separate the mechanical processes of

socialization from the emotional or interpersonal dynamics of the

experience, or more simply, the difference between their "initiation to

the task" and their "initiation to the group" (Feldman, 1977).

The above discussion suggests it might be possible to construct a

framework which displays the different types of socialization strategies

by organizational or job type. Such a matrix appears in Figure 4-1.

As suggested earlier, it is not always possible to neatly classify

an organization given the complexities present. It is useful, however,

to speculate in a general manner how various organizational types might

be assigned. These assignments are, as indicated, speculative and were

derived from both the strategy mean scores for each organization

(reported in Table 2-10) and from the researcher's knowledge of the

nature of the organizational activities and structures. For example, the

data in the current research suggests that the military unit fits best in






Figure 4-1
Organizational Categorization

Unit Batch

Figure 4-2
Job Categorization



the batch/divestiture cell since the respondents report a process that is

somewhat formal, collective, fixed, sequential and serial in content.

Furthermore, the process was marked by relatively high levels of

divestiture. This result is consistent with what we know about the

nature of military basic training (Bourne, 1967; Horner, 1979; Ilgen &

Seely, 1974). Bourne reports that the socialization strategy used by the

military during recruit training includes an attempt to strip away the

newcomers' identity and to replace it with a new one (Bourne, 1967).

Furthermore, Bourne (1967) suggests that the new recruit is made to feel

like an outsider and is constantly reminded that the skills they arrived

with are of no value to the army. These actions are the essence of a

divestiture strategy.

The billing service and the utility seem to fall into the

batch/investiture quadrant because the processes reported here were again

relatively formal, collective, fixed, sequential and serial. There is

some basis for this cell assignment when one considers the size and

nature of activities of these two locations. The utility, for example,

was the largest site in the sample and together with the billing service

accounted for the largest proportion of clerical functions. Given the

number of employees undergoing socialization at any one time, it makes

sense that a collective, standardized process would be employed. In this

quadrant, the investiture tactic seems to be more prevalent. This may

reflect a concerted effort on the part of the subject organizations to

match the socialization process to the social demands of their tasks

(i.e., friendly service to the public and to clients).

The unit/investiture cell seems to be the appropriate categorization

for the health care facility since the respondents generally reported a

process that was informal, individual, variable, non-sequential and

disjunctive. A relatively high level of investiture was also present.

Relatively well-trained professional and technical workers have already

received extensive "anticipatory socialization" prior to entry into the

organization. Thus, divesting socialization processes, to the extent

needed, have already taken place. Moreover, the unit strategy may be

used more frequently because fewer employees are hired at any one time,

and employees need to learn how to function autonomously early in their

organizational career.

It is also possible to explore cell assignment by job category. In

order to simplify this process, the sample job categories were combined

into three major classifications: managerial, technical and clerical.

Once again the cell assignments were made based partly on the strategy

mean scores (reported in Table 2-12) and partly on the knowledge of the

researcher of the organizations' structures and activities.

The data suggest that managerial tasks fit in the unit/investiture

cell. Typically, managers are socialized in an informal, individual,

variable, non-sequential and disjunctive manner. This is consistent with

what Bray et al. (1974) found in their study of AT&T managers. Bray et

al. (1974) found no uniform set of procedures used in socialization of

newly hired managers. The responsibility for the process varied from

department to department and the major means of socialization was job

rotation throughout the organization. The level of investiture reflects

the criticality of the social dimension of these positions. Schacter

(1959) suggests that as the newcomer seeks to live up to expectations,

they become more affiliative and begin to identify with significant

others who can furnish guidance and reassurance. Schein (1971) suggests


that it is through interaction with veteran managers that recruits absorb

the subtleties of organizational culture and climate.

Clerical jobs seem appropriate for the batch/investiture cell

because they typically reflect a formal, collective, fixed, sequential

and serial process. Again, this is consistent with what one would expect

when the socialization process is involved with a large number of

recruits performing relatively routine tasks. Organizations employing

large numbers of clerical employees are typically faced with the task of

socializing large numbers of new recruits. Often, turnover is high in

these clerical, entry-level positions and the replacement process is

almost continuous. It makes sense, then, that the organization would

attempt to "streamline" the socialization process as much as possible in

order to minimize costs. A batch strategy allows the organization to
"package" its socialization process thereby standardizing the process and

reducing costs per employee.

The technical classification appears to fit in the batch/divestiture

quadrant. This classification is somewhat tenuous. Schein (1964, 1968)

has reported the widespread use of debasing or upending experiences that

are encountered in professional training programs. They may be used to

make even well-educated workers cautious, and to reduce any cockiness

which might have developed in school.

It is important to note that in both the organizational assignment

and the job categorizations, one cell remained empty. The unit/

divestiture cell was vacant in both cases. This makes some intuitive

sense since it is highly unlikely that one would encounter this strategy

set in an organization. Since the unit strategy is more labor-intensive

from the organization's point of view, it is unlikely that it would be

consciously coupled with a strategy of divestiture. In the

individualized socialization of a manager, it would be inconsistent and

socially awkward, in light of the close one-on-one relationship, to

include experiences that are debasing or upending (Schein, 1968). This

would be contrary to the nature of the relationship typically found in a

"mentoring" type of partnership.

It is also possible to speculate that one might find a unit/

divestiture strategy used following another of the other strategy sets.

For example, Van Maanen (1976b) describes the transition from new recruit

to rookie policemen. The police academy could be viewed as involving a

batch/divestiture strategy but, upon completion, the recruit moves to an

apprentice program (e.g., rookie cop paired with a veteran) that could be

categorized as unit/divestiture. A similar situation occurs in the

military when an individual completes recruit training (batch/

divestiture) and enters into specialized advanced training, e.g., Green

Beret (unit/divestiture).

Relationships Between the People Processing
Strategies and Attitudinal Outcomes

A second major objective of this research was to determine the

extent of the impact of the people processing strategies on various

attitudinal measures. The results of the research provided evidence for

the conclusion that there is a systematic pattern of relationships

between the processing strategies and the attitudinal variables measured.

The "batch" process or set of strategies resulted in consistently higher

positive responses on the attitudinal measures than the "unit"

strategies. This is a somewhat unexpected result.

Intuitively, one might expect a "unit" or individualized process to

elicit a relatively more positive attitudinal response due to the

dependency of the newcomer. For example, Bourne (1967) studied the

socialization process that occurs during Army basic training and

discusses the effects of the immediate environmental shock of training.

He suggests the typical recruit response to this highly individualized

activity as one of dazed apathy. The recruits, as a result, become very

dependent upon those in positions of authority. Van Maanen suggests that

"a person undergoing formal socialization is likely to feel isolated,

cutoff, and prohibited from assuming everyday social relationships with

his more experienced 'betters'" (1978, p. 23). Another hypothesized

reason for this relationship is the suggestion that newcomers

experiencing unit socialization may also be relatively malleable because

they are alone and therefore feel especially vulnerable to group pressure

(Heiss & Nash, 1967; Walker, 1973).

Further arguments for the contention that "unit" socialization

processes should result in stronger affect towards the organization are

offered by Van Maanen and Schein (1979). Van Maanen and Schein, citing

the work of Burke (1950), suggest that individual strategies "can result

in deep individual changes, 'secular conversion,' but they are lonely

changes and are dependent solely upon the particular relationship which

exists between agent and recruit" (1979, p. 234). They further argue

that "outcomes in these one-on-one efforts are dependent primarily upon

the affective relationships which may or may not develop between the

apprentice and master" (1979, p. 234). As Caplow (1964) notes, this one-

on-one practice is prevalent especially in higher levels of bureaucratic

organizations where the person designated to conduct the socialization

process becomes a role model for the recruit. One can assume that the

relationship, especially at higher levels, will be intended to foster


high affect and consequently a stronger affinity not only for the role

model but for the organization as well.

However, in this research, being afforded individualized attention

did not result in a closer affinity for the organization. The data

suggests that the opposite response occurs. One could hypothesize that

the "specialness" is overshadowed by heightened levels of anxiety and

ambiguity resulting from less structured programs. For example, the

absence of a role model or close contact with others undergoing the same

experience may serve to increase the levels of tension the individual

experiences in the new and novel situation.

The positive impact of the "batch" strategy can also be explained

when we examine the process in conjunction with work group adjustment.

Feldman (1988) suggests the importance of social adjustment for new

recruits in three areas: as a source of social support, as a source of

work information and direction, and as "a framework for understanding all

the seemingly disparate pieces of information they are receiving" (1988,

p. 91). The outcomes, then, of a batch strategy include a source of

stress reduction (Feldman & Brett, 1983), performance feedback and role

modeling (Hackman, 1976; Weiss, 1977), and as a source of "sense-making"

(Louis, 1980). The data suggests that the "batch" approach might provide

the organization with the capability to favorably impact the levels of

tension and anxiety associated with the socialization experience. The

more structured "batch" approach appears to lessen the ambiguity and

uncertainty experienced as suggested by the relatively higher scores on

the attitudinal outcomes.

A further distinction to be considered is the differential effects

of the investiture and divestiture strategies. The results of the


research suggest that an investiture strategy results in higher or more

favorable responses on the attitudinal outcomes. The divestiture tactic

appears to result in a lowering of job-related attitudes. This is

consistent with what one would expect given the nature of each strategy,

and with previous research (Jones, 1986). An investiture strategy

reinforces the value of the contribution of the newcomer and therefore

serves to validate the self-image of the individual. This is reflected

by the relatively higher scores in the areas of management trust, job

satisfaction, organizational commitment and mutual influence. Tension

and anxiety associated with the new position also seem to be favorably


The divestiture strategy, on the other hand, seems to disconfirm the

value of the individual. A divestiture strategy not only strips away the

old identity of the newcomer, but constantly denigrates the self esteem

of the individual, resulting in a lowering of scores in areas such as

management trust, job satisfaction and job involvement. Furthermore, job

tension appears to increase with the use of the divestiture tactic.

Methodological Issues

The conduct of research in the area of organizational socialization

has been, and continues to be, marked by certain methodological problems.

These problem areas include issues related to research design, sample

selection and data collection techniques (Feldman, 1988; Fisher, 1986).

The design issue has centered on the almost exclusive use of cross-

sectional designs to assess what is, in reality, a longitudinal process.

The dynamic nature of the socialization process is demonstrated by the

many "stage" or "phase" models. The current research focused on one

stage of the process, the "breaking in" stage, in its cross-sectional

approach. Obviously, it would have been far more complex but potentially

more informative to have tracked the subjects through several steps of

the process. This was not done in the current study but provides a

direction and objectives for further longitudinal research. Some of the

results found in the current study may be attributable to other factors.

The second methodology issue involves the selection of the sample of

subjects. Subject selection has been narrow and generally restricted to

a limited type or category of employee. Frequently, research has focused

on samples comprised of police, military, nursing, engineers and students

(Fisher, 1986). Little research has been directed at several

occupational categories across several organizations. The current

research sought to increase the scope of the inquiry by including several

job categories and several different organization types. As noted in

Chapter 2, the organizations examined included a utility, a medical

clinic, a military unit and a clerical organization. This diversity of

organizations provided the researcher with a wide range of job types and

occupational categories ranging from blue-collar, clerical to upper level

management. Several professional and technical classifications were also

included in the pool of subjects. However, non-comparable samples to

previous research may account for some of the new results in this study.

Another area of concern is the potential confounding that occurs

when one is unable to clearly distinguish between socialization to a

profession versus socialization to a particular organization. This would

include the ability to assess the impact of "anticipatory socialization"

experiences, e.g., educational institutions, and their relationship with

the socialization efforts of the employing organization. As noted by

Fisher, "the occupational socialization variable is confounded with both


post-hire socialization experiences (master's degree engineers are likely

to be assigned different job activities and colleagues than Ph.D.

scientists) and possible preexisting value differences which led

individuals to choose one type of educational program over another"

(1986, pp. 103-104).

Data collection techniques comprise the third problem in methodology

encountered in socialization research. As Fisher (1986) has pointed out,

with a few notable exceptions (Schein, 1978; Van Maanen, 1978, 1975;

Feldman & Brett, 1983), the majority of the empirical approaches to the

study of socialization have relied solely upon self-report questionnaire

data with the inherent problems of reliability and validity (Campbell &

Stanley, 1966). The current research also utilized self-report

questionnaires for data collection. Nunnally suggests "self-report

measures of attitudes are limited to what individuals know about their

attitudes and are willing to relate" (1978, p. 591) and further argues

"the validity of a self-report measure depends upon how results are

interpreted" (1978, p. 392).

Additionally, an important issue which should be addressed is that

of the differences in perception between what recruits experience and

what organizations say they provide. It is reasonable to suggest that

what the newcomer reports to have occurred during their socialization may

be fundamentally different than that intended by the organization. It is

clear that individuals behave in response to their perceptions, whether

reflecting "objective" reality or not. In order to identify any

perceptual differences, it would be necessary to assess the process from

several different perspectives, i.e., a comparison of employee

assessments with those of supervisors and managers.

Further research in this area also requires an approach that

incorporates several data collection techniques used simultaneously.

Composite or multi-method approaches may provide the best approach for

dealing with this concern (Campbell & Fiske, 1959). Several researchers

have effectively utilized this type of approach (Schein, 1978; Feldman,

1976; Van Maanen, 1975). Innovative data collection approaches will help

to enhance the reliability of research in the area of organizational


Another methodological issue present in the current research

concerns the use of attitudinal measures versus behaviors. As Fisher

points out "certainly behavior is more visible than attitudes, and is

thus more likely to provoke influence attempts from others. However, few

studies have attempted to document behavior change during socialization"

(1986, pp. 108-109). This is an area that requires further attention

because of the significance of the impact of individual behavior in the

organizational setting. For example, the specific relationships between

the strategy sets and levels of involvement and commitment have

significant implications for the organization. The linkage between

levels of job involvement and commitment and subsequent turnover and

absenteeism have been well documented (Blau & Boal, 1987; Youngblood,

Mobley & Meglino, 1983; Blau, 1986; Farrell & Petersen, 1984). The costs

associated with high levels of turnover and absenteeism continue to be a

concern of organizational management and provide greater impetus for

achieving a "good match."

When one relies upon retrospective data, as was the case in the

assessment of the processing strategies, other threats to validity must

be considered. The subjects were asked to recall how they felt during

the first few weeks on the job. For some subjects, this was a fairly

recent event while for others the time since entry was far longer. The

longer the time since entry, the more opportunities for response

distortion. Campbell and Stanley suggest that one "should be careful to

note that the probable direction of memory bias is to distort the past

attitudes into agreement with present ones, or into agreement with what

the tenant has come to believe to be socially desirable attitudes" (1966,

p. 66). The current condition of the employment relationship may have

distorted or "flavored" the recall of the subject. Nunnally has

addressed the problem of self-knowledge or recall by suggesting

there is some selective 'forgetting' of one's own
actions and the ways in which other people have
responded to us, and those memories that remain
active frequently are reshaped in one way or another.
To the extent that questionnaire items concern
typical behavior over a long period of time or
behavior in an earlier stage of life, individuals may
be deficient in self-knowledge purely because they
cannot accurately recall how they performed and how
other people responded to them. (1978, p. 665)

A final methodological issue requiring attention is the

relationships between the variables. The results of the analysis suggest

a relatively high degree of multicollinearity present among both the

independent and the attitudinal variables. Belsley, Kuh and Welsch

define the condition of multicollinearity as existing with more than two

variates when "there is a high multiple correlation when one of the

variates is regressed on the others" (1980, p. 86). Although the

specificity of the patterns are somewhat ambiguous, there appears to be

some evidence for two patterns of relationships in the independent

variables: "unit" and "batch." The data suggests one pattern of

relationships among the attitudinal outcomes that might be representative

of the work itself while another pattern is suggestive of factors related

to social aspects of the work environment. It is not totally clear at

this point if the multicollinearity is due to theoretical considerations

or due to the methods employed in the research. Further research is

required to address the problem of multicollinearity.

Organizational Implications

When one considers the emphasis placed on formal socialization

programs by organizations (Zenke, 1982) it becomes apparent that it is

important and potentially beneficial for the organization to fully

understand the objectives of its socialization program. It is imperative

that the processing strategies employed by the organization are

supportive of and consistent with the outcomes sought.

It is feasible at this point to begin to speculate on the various

organizational objectives which may direct the utilization of one or the

other strategy sets. Van Maanen and Schein suggest that "individual

socialization processes are most likely to be associated with complex

roles" and where "there are relatively few incumbents compared to many

aspirants for a given role and when a collective identity among recruits

is viewed as less important than the recruits' learning of the

operational specifics of the given role" (1979, p. 234). Van Maanen and

Schein further suggest that

collective socialization programs are usually found
in organizations where there are a large number of
recruits to be processed into the same
organizationally defined role; where the content of
this role can be fairly clearly specified; and, where
the organization desires to build a collective sense
of identity, solidarity, and loyalty within the
cohort group being socialized. (1979, pp. 234-235)

The above considerations suggest some specific steps that should be

undertaken by organizations to enhance the effectiveness of their

socialization programs. These are as follows:

Identification of Objectives

The organization should clearly delineate the types of outcomes it

seeks in terms of employee attitudes and behaviors. In other words, what

are the objectives the organization seeks to achieve with its

socialization program? It is clear at this point that differential

strategies result in different responses on the part of the individual

experiencing the process. The organization, then, has within its powers

the ability to "tailor" its people processing strategies to obtain the

types of outcomes it seeks. This is a major consideration in light of

the consequences of the various attitudinal outcomes. For example, is

innovative behavior sought or is it more important to build high levels

of conformity? The answer to this question would dictate whether

investiture or divestiture is more appropriate.

Identification of Current Strategies

The organization should take steps to identify the current strategy

or set of strategies that it employs in its socialization process. As

was noted earlier, it is imperative that organizational management

clearly know the strategies they are employing to socialize their

employees. Equally important, management needs to be aware of the

perceptions of employees as they undergo the socialization program. This

might be accomplished by obtaining perceptions not only from employees

themselves, but also from the human resource managers and those in line

positions. It would then be possible to identify any differences in

perception, and the reasons for those differences.

Design of Socialization Program to Achieve Objectives

Once the organization has specified its objectives and determined

the types of processing strategies employed, it is possible to redesign

the process if required to bring it more in line with the objectives.

This becomes a much more complex issue if the organization is concerned

with differential responses across different job categories or

departments. The more complex the occupational make-up of the

organization, the more difficult it becomes to administer the

socialization program. An analysis should be conducted to determine the

appropriate level of complexity for the organizational socialization


The current research and other research on Van Maanen's typology

(Jones, 1986) suggests the possibility of the development of a "fit"

model (Feldman, forthcoming) that could be utilized to develop

organizational socialization programs. Such a model would allow the

organization to predict the outcomes that may occur given a specific set

of processing strategies and to design their program to obtain desired


An appropriate application of the results of the current study may

be found in the work of Schuler and Jackson (1987). Schuler and Jackson

suggest a model for linking the competitive strategies of organizations

with the practices of human resource management. They specifically

identify three competitive strategies: innovation, quality enhancement,

and cost reduction. Linked with each of these strategies are specific

employee role behaviors. For example, the innovative strategy requires a

high degree of creative behavior, a relatively high level of cooperative,

interdependent behavior and a high tolerance of ambiguity and

unpredictability. These behavioral requirements would suggest that a

unit/investiture strategy set might be appropriate since this tactic

seems to encourage creative behavior while at the same time requiring the

individual to be tolerant of the ambiguity and unpredictability

associated with an individualized socialization process.

The quality enhancement and cost reduction strategies require

relatively repetitive and predictable behavior, a moderate amount of

cooperative, interdependent behavior and commitment to the goals of the

organization. One might expect these behavioral responses where a

batch/investiture strategy is employed. The batch approach appears to be

suited to activities requiring routine, repetitive behaviors.

The batch strategy, therefore, provides the basis for the

development of stable, predictable behavior reinforced by an environment

of investiture or social support. Investiture provides an atmosphere of

trust and mutual respect resulting in a potentially stronger commitment

to the organization and, subsequently, loyalty to the organizational


The above relationships or assignments are speculative, and in need

of further research, but they do suggest the practical application of the

results of this research. The findings also suggest that a major

reevaluation of the value of formal socialization programs needs to be

conducted. Organizations should question whether their current

socialization processes are contributing to the objectives sought or are

resulting in outcomes that are contrary to expectations.

When the consequences of early organization experiences are

considered in terms of performance, satisfaction, and productivity, the

importance of successfully managing the people processing strategies

becomes clear. The current research provides a step in the direction of

enabling the organization to achieve the outcomes it desires in the

management of its employee socialization program. This research provides